In this episode, we’re talking with Renee Black, the Principal and Senior Meeting Planner of planit inc. about the evolution of safety at live events. This conversation covers everything from how to make events safer, to how to include health and wellness at events, to what events will look like post-pandemic. So hit the download button, screw your headphones on tight, and get ready to take notes.
Renee Black is Principal & Senior Meeting Planner for planit inc. As one of the founders of the organization, Renee and team have been delivering high-end meetings & events for over 20 years. Renee oversees the marketing and sales efforts, and manages the large client division. Under Renee’s leadership, planit inc. is a growing women-owned, women-managed meeting & events firm boasting over 20 dedicated event producers committed to producing events all over the globe. Due to her expertise, passion and tenure in the meetings & events industry, Renee is a published writer, industry speaker, and was recognized as one of the most influential event planners in 2021 by BizBash.
Hosted and Written by Jeremy Dobrish
Produced by Bethany Potter
Theme Music by Mike Mancini
Logo design by Shraddha Maharjan
Special thanks to Dossie McCraw
HOW SAFETY IS EVOLVING AT EVENTS
By Jeremy Dobrish
When it comes to meeting planning and logistics, Renee Black is the Queen Bee. The Mother Hen. The Top Of The Pops. She is the Principal and Senior Meeting Planner at planit inc. During the pandemic, planit launched their meet well. meet safe. program to ensure that corporate live events were produced safely during these perilous times.
So, needless to say, I was very excited to sit down with Renee to talk about safety and live events. The first thing she did was school me (in the nicest way possible as she is, perhaps, the nicest person possible). It’s not just about safety, she corrected me, it’s also about health and wellness; they all go together.
Renee also stressed the importance of having a contingency plan for every possible scenario:
“One of the things we've done is we have a pre-plan, an onsite plan, and a post-show plan meaning you have to have different facets, determined in your planning phase than you do on site. There's actually quite a few differences. The way you communicate in the pre-event communications and how you communicate on site, those messages need to be predetermined.”
Renee helped me understand that pre-covid attendees probably felt more safe than they were. Now, however, it’s the opposite. And so, it’s really important for event producers to demonstrate to their audience, every step of the way, what they are doing to keep their attendees safe and healthy.
“We've created a communication that clients can use that basically says our program is following these set of very high standards. So you know that everything we're doing as a client and everything we are asking the property or the venue to participate in, we're doing under the umbrella of this meet well. meet safe. program.”
One of the difficulties Renee has encountered is when top executives don’t follow the mask mandates of the company, and then others follow suit. This is why it’s really important to talk through these things ahead of time, and have clear plans in place.
One thing planit has implemented that Renee thinks is here to stay, even post-pandemic, is a health and wellness room.
“If you feel ill, (or) you had too much to drink the night before (or) you ate something (or) you want to make sure your cold is not COVID, (or) you cut yourself. The reasons could be endless, but the fact is that you have a solution that's provided from the client.”
Renee had all sorts of tricks and solutions for making events safer and healthier. From staggered registration to reduce congestion, to getting rid of “standing room only” clusters, to serving healthier food options, to making sure people have opportunities to get some fresh air.
And with all these improvements outliving the pandemic, Renee sees a silver lining amidst the awfulness of Covid:
“It's unfortunate in many ways that we had to come up with meet well, meet safe to meet the requirements of a global pandemic. But then if you take a step back and you go, but wait, we just probably made our client's brand stronger, we made their attendees more loyal, we made people feel safe.”
The pandemic has been awful. But having Renee and the planit team out there keeping attendees safe and healthy has made a big difference. And as the world opens up, and live events become the norm again, all the improvements Renee suggests will go a long way towards making us all safer and healthier.
If you want to hear more of Renee’s story, and learn more of her tips, listen to the full episode.